Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Ganoderma Sp.

Local Species;

"Ganoderma is probably the most morphologically complex genus of polypores. An indication of this problem is the 290 taxonomic names that have been published in the genus.... Historically, laccate taxa were referred to as the G. lucidum complex, and nonlaccate species as the G. applanatum complex. The Latin word lucidus means “shiny” or “brilliant” and refers to the varnished appearance of the surface of the mushroom. The G. lucidum complex is composed of species with annual fruiting bodies having a yellow to reddish laccate cuticle and an upper layer that is smooth or often concentrically zoned and grooved. The surface is sometimes covered with brownish spore powder. The shape is variable: circular to semi-circular or fan shaped or kidney shaped in outline.... In the G. applanatum complex, the fruiting bodies are perennial with a brown to black cuticle with the upper layer of the fruiting bodies composed of a hard surface crust that is usually cracked, furrowed, ridged, and/or lumpy or knobby in age, but not varnished. In Latin, the word applanatum means flattened." [Chang Mush]

"The taxonomy of Ganoderma species usually has been based on classical descriptive criteria. As a result, the concept of a species in the genus is neither well established nor universally accepted." [Chang Mush]

"Knowing how mutable the fomiation of the stalk is under different cultural conditions, and that Ganoderma lucidurn readily fruits on a variety of conifer and hardwood sawdust mixtures, delineation of these individuals based solely on habitat seems highly suspect." [GGMM Stamets]

"Although the majority of research on Ganoderma has been focused on G. lucidum, some 258 species have been described in the genus .... Many of these species have been described on morphological data, which is often inadequate for accurate identification in these fungi, and many names may be synonyms or misapplied (Buchanan, 2001). Other biologically active triterpenes have been isolated from other members of the genus, and ganoderic acid X, isolated from G. amboinenese, can inhibit DNA synthesis in human hepatoma HuH-7 cells...." [AppliedMycology] "Ganodermadiol, lucidadiol and applanoxidic acid G obtained from a European specimen of G. pfeifferi have all shown antiviral activity against influenza virus types A and HSV-1 (Mothana et al., 2003)." [AppliedMycology]

Food Use

Bioactive/functional properties of beer can be improved by using unusual raw materials such as medical mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Leskosek-Cukalovic et al., 2010) or algae (Branyik, Bittner, & Jung, 2012). [Holzapfel AFFB]

Description and Other Properties

"The strategy of many wood-rotting fungi is to exploit the retained wood relatively slowly, their mycelia being characterized as slow growing, stress tolerant, combative and defensive (Rayner & Boddy, 1988; Holmer & Stenlid, 1997). These fungi may persist in wood much longer than T. versicolor [Trametes versicolor (Tuyrkey-tail)], although they appear to be less active degraders of lignocellulose under laboratory conditions. Their success is related to slow growth combined with retention of the wood, and tolerance to the developing nutrient stress in the wood as it decays and to extractives in heartwood. Many of these fungi are members of the ‘Aphyllophorales’, good examples being the genera Ganoderma, Fomes and Inonotus, which may persist for decades on fallen trees. Lignocellulose degradation by such fungi has been little studied, mostly because of their slow growth, difficulties in culturing and little apparent biotechnological potential. However, the later stages in decomposition of wood oVer diVerent physiological challenges to mycelia, for example the presence of complex recalcitrant aromatic compounds; consequently their degradative systems may well be of interest." [Gadd FB]

"Most of the diseases of oil palm are caused by fungal pathogens. The important disease in South Asia and the South Pacific is basal stem rot of mature palms caused by Ganoderma, which can result in high losses if left unchecked [113]." [Ahuja MWP]

"Ganoderma species attack a variety of tropical perennial crops including rubber, tea, and pineapple. In these instances the Ganoderma appears to be largely transmitted through the soil, possibly in plant debris, and spreading infection patches may be evident in fields. The species G. boninense occurs as a saprophyte on dead palms, particularly coconuts, but appears to be pathogenic only to oil palm. For some years transmission of G. boninense in oil palm was believed to be through the soil, as for other species, and disease control was attempted through practices that included digging large pits around infected palms (Turner 1981)." [Arora FBAF]


G. lucidum - Reishi Mushroom Adverse reactions can include Dizziness, dermatitis, pruritus, diarrhea and bone pain.[PTH] "Contraindications with hemophilia (due to high adenosine content)" [PTH] "Overdosage/Treatment Decontamination: Lavage (within 1 hour)/activated charcoal with cathartic" [PTH]

Medicinal Use

"Ganoderma lucidum is one of the important Asian fungi that were collectively recognized in China and Korea as ling zhi (mushroom of immortality), and in Japan as reishi mushroom or mannentake (10,000 years mushroom), over 4000 years ago (Wasser, 2005). Ling zhi was recognized as a superior tonic in the most famous Chinese Materia Medica, the Shen Nung Ben Cao Jing (206 bc–ad 8) (Huang, 1993). Although ling zhi includes a variety of Ganoderma species with different colours and shapes, the red ling zhi (G. lucidum) was reported as treating binding in the chest, toning the heart, nourishing the centre, sharpening the wit and improving the memory (Wasser, 2005)." [AppliedMycology]

"Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), also known as mannentake, is an Asian mushroom that has been used in complementary medicine for its antitumor effects." [Alachi IBM]

"Reishi contains triterpenes (C2, D, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta, and theta) and polysaccharides peptides.68,69" [Alachi IBM] Activities Anti-tumor "Anti-tumour activity has been found mainly in the water-soluble branched (1->3)-B-d-glucans..., which are usually isolated by extraction with hot water (Zhou et al., 2007)." [AppliedMycology]


"Both water and methanol extracts of G. lucidum have been found to markedly inhibit the cytopathic effects of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) in vitro (Eo et al., 1999a)" [AppliedMycology]

"A proteoglycan isolated from G. lucidum has shown anti-HSV activity, and it has been suggested that this may be due to it inhibiting viral replication by suppressing viral adsorption and entry into target cells (Liu et al., 2004; Li, Z. et al., 2005)." [AppliedMycology]


"The two major groups of biologically active compounds isolated from G. lucidum are polysaccharides (mainly glucans and glycoproteins) and lanostane-type triterpenes (ganoderic acids, ganoderic alcohols and their derivatives) (Gao and Zhou, 2003)." [AppliedMycology]

"Although more than 200 types of polysaccharides have been isolated from the fruiting bodies, spores, mycelia and cultivation broth of G. lucidum (Zhou et al., 2007), chemical analysis has shown that the most active polysaccharides are B-d-glucans." [AppliedMycology]

"In 1982, ganoderic acids A and B were the first two triterpenes to be isolated from G. lucidum (Kubota et al., 1982). Since then more than 130 triterpenes have been isolated from the fruiting bodies, spores, mycelia and culture media (Huie and Di, 2004), and new triterpenes continue to be isolated and identified." [AppliedMycology]


Dyes: "Several Myrothecium spp. and Ganoderma spp. were shown by Mou et al. (1991) to be able to decolorize Orange II as well as two other diazo sulfonated dyes designated as RS(WC) and lOB(H/C)." [Arora FBAF]


"Artificial cultivation of this valuable mushroom was successfully achieved in the early 1970s,... and, since 1980 particularly in China, production of G. lucidum has developed rapidly. Similarly, as for other cultivated edible mushrooms, the process for producing G. lucidum fruiting bodies can be divided into two major stages. The first stage involves the preparation of the fruiting culture, stock culture, mother spawn, and planting spawn, and the second stage entails the preparation of the growth substrates for mushroom cultivation. Currently, the methods most widely adopted for commercial production are the wood log, short wood segment, tree stump, sawdust bag, and bottle procedures." [Chang Mush]

"For a long time in China, Ganoderma has been known as a kind of panacea in the folklore, curing all kinds of diseases.43 All ancient Chinese Materia Medica have treated Lingzhi as of superior grade, which as indicated previously means that it is a nontoxic tonic herb without side effects even when taken for a long period at a high dosage." [Chang Mush]

"However, observational experience of the long-term therapeutic effects of Ganoderma and the recognition of the pharmacological properties of the mushroom based on systematic animal studies conducted over the past 20 years clearly show that some Ganoderma components possess important bioactivity. This applies particularly to those bioactive compounds extractable with hot water (polysaccharides) or alcohol (triterpenes), which show great potential as superior dietary supplements or “nutriceuticals” for enhancing human immune responses. It is also noteworthy that Ganoderma products have repeatedly been reported to be lacking significant toxicity and side effects." [Chang Mush]

"The stems and stem powder [of Mulberries (Morus Sp.)]are a good media for mushroom production. In China, the edible Jew’s ear (Auricularia auricula judae) and the medicinal fungus Ganoderma lucidum are produced on mulberry logs or powder." [Crawford TGOP]


"Ganoderma lucidum has a remarkably strong bitterness, which has not been found in any other mushroom, and the bitterness varies in strength depending on the place of production, cultivation conditions, strain used, etc. It has been observed that the stipe has a stronger bitterness than the
pileus. However, such bitterness has not been found in cultured mycelia or in the culture broth." [Chang Mush]

Ganoderma applanatum - Artist's Conk

"The polypore (Ganoderma applanatum) that many English speakers call the “artist’s conk,” because of its applicability in art and craft, is known as the “monkey seat” in Japan (Wasson 1973)." [Anderson Ethnobiology]

"Ganoderma applanatum forms a flat semicircular to hoof-shaped or shelf-like fruitbody that has a hard brown to grayish black upper surface, fine whitish pores that turn instantly brown when scratched, punky or corky flesh, and brown or reddish brown spores that often dust the upper surface. It is commonly known as the artist's conk because a sharp instrument can produce brown drawings on the white pore surface that will be permanent after drying. It has been calculated that this fungus can produce 4.5 trillion spores annually, (Sept(1)). It is common and is found in BC, WA, OR, ID, and also AB, MB, NWT, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, PQ, SK, YT, AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, and WY, (Gilbertson)" [E-flora-1]

Habitat/Range: "perennial, dead standing trees, stumps, and living trees of numerous genera of hardwoods, also common on conifers in Pacific Northwest and rarely on conifers elsewhere, causes a white mottle rot and butt rot of living aspen, also found on dead standing or fallen hardwoods, (Gilbertson), young buttons start in summer but continue fruiting all year (Miller)" [E-flora-1]

"This fungus produces a white rot in standing trees and is probably a factor in the death of senescent trees of numerous species. " [MOFMUS Huffman] "For instance, almost nothing fungal grows under bay laurel, but the Ganoderma applanatum group (especially G. brownil) is abundant on bay laurel as well as many other trees." [MushDemyst]

"All the Ganoderma varieties seem to have essentially the same pharmacologically active compounds and have been used in much the same way, including Ganoderma oregonensis and Ganoderma applanatum." [HealingMushrooms]

"Tamarillo fruit has an invertase inhibitory protein (IIP) that was found to have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against xylophagous and phytopathogenic fungi (Ganoderma applanatum,..." [EMNMPV.6]

"lignophile n. An organism that lives on, or in, wood, e.g., Ganoderma applanatum (Artist’s Mushroom) (Lincoln et al. 1985)" [Barrows ABDR3]

"The white undersurface of artist’s fungus (Ganoderma applanatum), which darkens when cut, has been used for etching." [FAP Rogers]

"Basidiocarps of G. applanatum are parasitized by larvae of the mycophagous fly Agathomyia wankowiczii. The trama is stimulated to proliferate into conical or cylindrical gall-like outgrowths on the underside of the basidiocarp. When the larva has completed its development, it bores an exit hole through the tip of the gall and drops to the forest floor for pupation (Eisfelder & Herschel, 1966). Gall-forming insects rarely attack fungi, and even other Ganoderma spp. do not seem to be attacked by A. wankowiczii." [IntrotoFun3]

"Ganoderma lucidum, G. japonicum, G. capense, and G. applanatum are used as fungal sources for the fermentative production of lingzhi biomass (WANG)." [Leung ENCI]

"In areas where Ganoderma grows in abundance, the extremely high number of spores released into the air (G. applanatum produces about 11 billion spores per week from a single fruiting body) frequently cause reactions in susceptible individuals (Tarlo et al, 1979)." [MM Hobbs]

Bitterness: "Like G. lucidum, this species contains various steroidal compounds (Pettit and Knight, 1962; Ripperger and Budzikiewicz, 1975), such as ergosterol, ergosta- 7,22-dien-3p-ol, fungisterol (Yokoyama et al, 1975), alnusenone, friedelin, and other triterpenes ( Protiva, 1980). Ganoderenic acid, furanoganoderic acid, and ganoderic acid derivatives have been isolated from G. applanatum (Nishitoba et al, 1989). Because triterpenes such as ganoderic acid have been correlated with bitterness, flavor may be a good measure of quality for G. applanatum, G. oregonense, and other wild species (Shiao et al, 1994). This particularly holds true if one is interested in the pharmacological effects that are especially associated with these compounds, namely hepatoprotection, antihistamine, ACE inhibition, and hypolipidemic activity." [MM Hobbs]

"Edibility: too tough and woody (Arora)" [???]

Medical Uses

"In China, it is considered useful for rheumatic tuberculosis and esophageal cancer (Ying et al, 1987). It also has antibiotic properties and shows activity against other types of cancer as well (Kim et al, 1990)." [MM Hobbs]

"Preparation and Dosage 30 g a day in tea or water-based extract." [MM Hobbs] "Heavy, conk-like polypores such as Ganoderma applanatum are perennials and will readily dry, maintaining (even for years) the same appearance and medicinal properties as the day they were picked." [MM Hobbs] "Many mushroomers keep a large knife in their collecting basket so that it’s always on hand for collecting. The knife doesn’t have to be extremely sharp, because most mushrooms are easy to cut. For really tough and woody species, such as the artist’s conk (Ganoderma applanatum), you will need a more aggressive tool. If you are determined to collect this kind of mushroom, you’d better get serious about it and carry an axe." [FGWMP Russell]

"In my experience, the energetic property of G. applanatum is warming and slightly bitter and sweet, depending on the host tree from which it is harvested. In TCM, G. applanatum is used to reducephlegm, eliminate indigestion, stop pain, and remove heat." [MM Hobbs]

"Eleven species of bracket mushrooms belonging to Phellinus (P. badius, P. chinchonensis, P. durrissimus, P. gilvus, P. linteus, P. merrilli, P. pachyphloes, P. pectinatus, P. robiniae, P. senex, P. sublinteus and two species of Ganoderma (G. applanatum and G. lucidum) are reported to be in extensive use as Phanasomba or Phanas alombe by the Ayurvedic Vedas in the Pune region ofIndia. A paste prepared out ofthese is applied to gums for stopping excessive salivation and it has been reported to act as a good styptic (Vaidya, 1991)" [Singh FEFB]

"At least 100 different triterpenoids have been identified from fruiting bodies and mycelium of Ganoderma lucidum and G. applanatum and include102 ganoderic, ganoderenic, lucidenic acids- and several ganoderals (for references see Wasser and Weis, 1999b)." [Smith 2002 MM]

Other Uses

Ganoderma brownii

"Summary: somewhat similar to the common Ganoderma applanatum but with larger spores and yellow pore surface; description derived from Gilbertson(1); found in CA (Gilbertson), BC (Brenda Callan)" [E-flora-2]

Habitat/Range: "perennial, on hardwoods, causing white rot of living and dead hardwoods" [E-flora-2]

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Ganoderma oregonense - Western Varnished Conk

"Summary: Ganoderma oregonense forms large yellow-brown to red-brown semicircular or fan-shaped brackets with a lacquer-like surface, growing on conifers. Many consider this a synonym of Ganoderma tsugae Murrill, Bull. Torrey bot. Club 29: 601. 1902. Gilbertson(1) distinguish them on the following features [while saying they are doubtfully distinct]: Ganoderma oregonense has a cap up to 100cm x 40cm x 20cm, 2-3 pores / millimeter, and spores 13-17 x 8-10 microns, whereas Ganoderma tsugae has cap up to 20cm x 30cm x 7cm, 5-6 pores per millimeter, and spores 13-15 x 7.5-8.5 microns, (Ginns(25)). Ganoderma oregonense is found in BC, WA, OR, ID, and also CA, MT, and NV." [E-flora-3]

"Habitat/Range: "annual, commonly on dead standing conifers and on conifer stumps, main substrates are Abies (fir) and Tsuga (hemlock), causes white butt and root rot of living and dead conifers, (Gilbertson), fruiting in spring, summer, and fall, (Miller)" [E-flora-3]

"Similar Species Ganoderma tsugae of eastern North America, California and Arizona is similar but "Ganoderma oregonense is doubtfully distinct from G. tsugae, differing mainly in the large size of the basidiocarps, larger pores, and slightly larger spores", (Gilbertson(1) who note also for G. tsugae that the stem is often vertical and well-developed). "Ganoderma oregonense and G. tsugae may be names for the same fungus (Gilbertson and Ryvarden 1986, Moncalvo et al. 1995)", but Gilbertson and Ryvarden distinguished them on the following features: basidiocarps up to 100cm x 40cm x 20cm for G. oregonense, 20cm x 30cm x 7cm for G. tsugae, pores 2-3 per millimeter for G. oregonense, 5-6 per millimeter for G. tsugae, and spores 13-17 x 8-10 microns for G. oregonense, 13-15 x 7.5-8.5 microns for G. tsugae, (Ginns(25), the quotation having Latin names in italics). 'Very young specimens of Fomitopsis pinicola may be more or less completely "varnished" but the varnish disappears as the basidiocarp ages. The very dense, hard context of F. pinicola is very different from the light, soft-punky context of G. oregonense.', (Ginns(25), with Latin names italicized). Ganoderma lucidum is rare in the Pacific Northwest and grows on hardwoods. Ganoderma applanatum and Ganoderma brownii do not have a varnished appearance." [E-flora-3]

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Articles of Interest


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